Thursday, November 24, 2016

There's Enough Pie For Everyone

She knows very little about basketball, but she paced the stands screaming the Lady Warriors on to a 4A State Championship, she videoed me with the coveted family camcorder for hours as I practiced my tap dancing in a triple XL Backstreet Boys t, she found me bawling in my bathroom over the fictional deaths of Old Dan and Little Ann, she found me practicing my kissing on my arm on the toilet and then having to sift through that very toilet to find my loose tooth that fell in (the tooth fairy wasn't going to look for it in there), she endured my wails after Dillard’s warned us the store was closing in 10 minutes and I could not think of anything worse than being trapped in a Dillard's all night at the age of 8, she taught me to seek out 5-star luxury hotel restrooms, lock myself in the stall and wait for her if I ever got lost in the unruly crowds of New York City the very first time we visited, she flew with me across the country from college campus to college campus to college campus for a basketball camp.

She’s my mom.

(Pretending to golf when we all know we're here for a sun tan & sweet tea)

 (Probably basket #3 of Roadhouse rolls)

(Posing with someone else's pint of Guinness in Ireland)

(My first day of college)

I want to take the focus away from my basketball blurbs and simply give credit where credit is due.

Ya know, my mom was the first one to start this whole blogging idea. John, Luke, & I knew it was going to take a turn for the worst as soon as we heard the news. We’ve scolded her for most of her sappy, over-exaggerated posts, but after it’s all said and done, there’s nothing I enjoy reading more.

When I was younger my mom taught me one very important lesson that resonates with me deeply today as I write 30,000 ft. above ground on my way to Cancun for, you guessed it, basketball.

“There’s enough pie for everyone.”

I can hear my mom’s voice shout it from the mountaintops.

There’s enough success for everyone. There’s no need for jealously, for stealing someone else’s joy, or for making someone else’s accomplishments inferior to your own. There’s enough pie for everyone!

Courtesy of Delta Airlines, Bad Moms is the complimentary movie of the flight. I thought it was going to be worth a two-hour nap. Contrary to popular belief, Mila Kunis stole the show. It even tug at the heart strings a little as I thought about 'ol Tracy Nicole.

My mom taught me that people matter. People’s successes matter. There’s no use for comparison. There’s no use for anger. There’s no use for tearing another woman, or man down. At the end of the day what’s that get ya? Jack squat.

I can remember it clear as day. Every Thanksgiving, my mother would get up from the kitchen table and take out this giant, silver plated fork.

“Everyone, let me introduce to you all the ‘talking fork.’ Each person take a moment with the fork and share what you’re thankful for."

A collective sigh quickly ensued. Typical Tracy antics at their best. Person by person we begrudgingly gave her what she wanted. By the end, we couldn’t stop smiling. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about, isn’t it? Gathering around those people you’re biologically forced to gather around a few times a year in order to remember how good you’ve got it.

Pure bliss.

Even though my mom engrained her patented quote into my brain long ago, it’s taken me awhile to fully put it into practice. Truly being happy for someone, when someone else’s successes are just as important as your own, when you don’t have to feel inadequate about your own accomplishments because someone else’s just must be a little bit “better,” you will soon realize that people are people no matter how (tall). The dear Lord wants us to build each other up in order to build His kingdom up. Be happy for another, compliment one another, and most importantly, love one another. 

I've learned from the best. I've learned from my mom.

Slices of success never run out. There’s enough pie for everyone.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Buy A Ticket

Last Sunday the priest decided to start his homily out with a joke.

I hate jokes. 

Yet this one stuck with me. 


There once was a rabbi who was going through some financial trouble. He knew he needed God's help, so he asked for it.

"God, let me win the lottery," he prayed aloud.

He prayed this little line for weeks. Soon enough, weeks turned to months and months turned to years.


God replied, "Maybe you should have bought a ticket."


Buy in. 

God's got jokes, but the moral of the story is... buy in. Buying in isn't the most glamous thing in the world. It sure as heck isn't the easiest thing in the world either, but it is the most gratifying.

Last year, I had no choice but to buy in. Had I not, I might have lost my mind.

Let me walk you through my "Game Day Schedule."

Let's pretend it's Sunday. We play Oregon at 2. I'm a transfer. I can't play in the game. Should be an easy day for me, right? Might as well buy myself a buttery bucket of corn and enjoy the best seat in the house.


A game at 2 in the afternoon was translation for a 6am wake up call.

6-7am - Weights
7-7:45am - Agility
8-9am - 1on1 Skill Work w/ coach
9-10am - Shootaround
10-10:30am - Pregame meal
10:30-10:45am - Chapel
10:45-11:45am - Treatment
12-1pm - Shower/make-up/dress/dancing shoes
2-4pm - Bench hype
5:30-6:30pm - Church (it's Sunday)

Here's a graphic for you visual learners:

Real-life graphic based on true events

Game days were hard. Four workouts before tip-off. If it was a late game that evening, I would usually struggle just to keep my eyes open come halftime. My body was feeeheeeelin' it.

I say all this to note that a year long absence from lacing up the shoes in front of a crowd does not mean a year off from lacing up the shoes altogether. 

As many of you know, Allen Iverson is my all-time favorite player. Sometimes I empathize with him. Practice can suck.

The funny thing is, however, practice works. I got into the best shape of my life. Just when I thought my potential as a basketball player had been capped, my coaches found a way to uncork it. 

Why? Because I bought in.

Doesn't mean it was a walk in the park, though. 

I felt like a freshman all over again. I was the new kid on the block looking at the playbook with wide eyes, hoping my little legs were going to make the next timed suicide so my teammates don't have to run another, playing on both the scout team and my actual team to alleviate reps for the girls, only to feel as if each and every day held a new obstacle I couldn't quite conquer.

But the weirdest part of it all?

I loved it.

I loved every single grueling second of it.

I was in Los Angeles, California earning my right to be here.

I was running into Claire Dunphey in Beverly Hills; I was rollerblading down the Venice Beach Boardwalk after class; I was catching flights to see my little brother play when my team had an away trip; I was doing anything and everything this city had to offer. I'm not going to sugar coat it. It was a blast and a half. I was living large. As large as a college girl's empty wallet could take her.

The M stands for dollar menu.

Needless to say, I was paying the price of admission to be a University of California, Los Angeles student-athlete. 

It may appear to be all glitz and glamour on the outside, but on the inside people saw the bucket of blood, sweat, and tears it took to simply make it through one of the plethora of "Game Days."

I had to buy in.

Prior to buying in, I had been a wanderer. At Oklahoma, I was a wonderer.

"I wonder what California is like."
"I wonder what other schools are doing right now."
"I wonder if their practices are like ours."

I never fully committed to the here and now. That's my challenge for you all today. In order to be fully happy in life, to live each day with a humble heart and happy mind, buy in.

Buy in to the process. Buy in to the bad days, the good days, the long days, the off days.

When you do, nothing else matters. It doesn't matter if you start. It doesn't matter if you're the first off the bench or the last, the captain or the water girl. When you buy in, your mindset can't be tainted. Success isn't always measured by the wins and losses. I'd say it's measured by the buy in.

The year-long 4-a-days are now over, and for the fifth and final time I am ready to get the ball rolling again.

I'm ready to play.

I bought my ticket. Have you bought yours?